I heard an interesting homily by Father Peter Gojuk, OMV, at Saint Francis Chapel in Boston a couple of weeks ago. It was about prayer.
Seems the founder of another Marian-centered order, The Oblates of Mary Immaculate, was in a chapel with a young seminarian, the latter reading his Office. A poor man entered the chapel begging for alms. The seminarian informed the man that he was busy at prayer.
The founder—Saint Eugene De Mazenod—promptly arose from his pew, snatched his breviary from the seminarian, and threw it across the chapel. "He," the saint thundered at the hapless seminarian, pointing at the beggar, "is WHY you pray THIS!" he cried, pointing at the flying prayer book.
There's a lesson to be learned here for all of us…for me, anyway.
At Saint Francis Chapel, there's evidently a rule against pan-handling in the church. Actually, given the location of the place, this makes sense to me. It's in the middle of a shopping mall, and nobody from the Chapel would report anybody asking for dough outside the Chapel doors.
Today, though, a man came into the Chapel, about a quarter to Benediction.
We were all either openly adoring the exposed Sacrament, or had our noses into our devotions. And suddenly the man said something rather loudly:
YOU MUST LOVE GOD! YOU MUST LOVE JESUS CHRIST! HE IS OUR SALVATION!
A few people—including yours truly—looked at him, waiting for him to go on. And go on he did. Saying pretty much what we're all supposed to know, or at least be reminded of. Yes, perhaps he was preaching to the choir…but still, I was interested in what he had to say.
A lady in the pew across from me waved at me frantically, whispering loudly: "Kelly! Go tell the priest to call security!"
I thought this was a silly idea. What should I tell the priest? "Please call security…someone's telling us to love God!"?
Okay, so maybe the guy wasn't the return of John the Baptist, and quite possibly, one of his screws were loose.
Or maybe he was a friend of God.
In any case, a nice man in another pew rose quietly, spoke a few words to him, and led him out of the Chapel gently, where he seemed to have a quiet conversation with him.
Later…after Benediction, Mass, and the Rosary…
The frantically waving lady came over to me and loudly whispered: "WE have a policy here. Whenever Something Like That happens, WE call Security!"
Alas. I told her to buzz off. I shouldn't have done that. I should've said "please buzz off."
But it got me to thinking. (Okay, everybody, I DO think occasionally, so cut the giggles, okay?)
My husband and I run a business together out of our home. [Yes, I linked it, but you can wait and go there when you finish reading this.] How many times have I stopped in front of my computer to, say, pray the Angelus…or read a commentary on the day's Mass readings…only to have my husband ask me for, oh, maybe my opinion on a design or a client's demands or on his shirt…and only to respond something like "Do. You. MIND???? I. Am. PRAYING!!!!"
Too many times, I'm afraid. What a horrid example of "prayer!" What on earth would Saint Eugene De Mazenod say?
What would Jesus say? Yikes/
I learned something about prayer today. From a man who desperately wanted me to love God…and from my God, Who desperately wants me to love my neighbor.
May He continue to bless you…and to teach me.
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